Can I Have Cataract Surgery Without Cataracts?

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Did you know there is a way to avoid getting cataracts and permanently improve your vision?

A refractive lensectomy corrects vision by replacing the eye’s natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implant.  This surgery uses the same successful techniques of modern cataract surgery.  People who have a refractive lensectomy will never need to have cataract surgery.

Who has refractive lens exchange surgery?

People can get refractive lens surgery for a variety of reasons and conditions.  This procedure is ideal for patients who have severe near or farsightedness that can not be corrected by LASIK or ASA.  If you are not a good candidate for laser vision correction, your doctor may tell you that a refractive lensectomy is your best surgical option to safely correct your vision.

You may also choose to have a refractive lens exchange if you want to avoid having cataract surgery later in life.  Cataracts are a natural part of the aging process of the eyes and can not be avoided.  Everyone will develop cataracts and will likely need surgery at some point in their lives.  How soon and how fast they grow and change your vision depends on a number of factors – including lifestyle factors, certain infections or diseases, and genetics.

What happens during a refractive lensectomy?

Having a refractive lens exchange is just like having cataract surgery. The main difference is that in a refractive lensectomy, your eye’s natural lens is clear and not cloudy.

Intraocular lenses (IOL) are implantable soft plastic or acrylic lenses.  An IOL will be permanently inserted into your eye to replace your natural lens, correcting your vision.  Our doctors use many of the best innovations such as drops only anesthesia (no shots), suture-less incisions through the clear cornea, and foldable intraocular lenses.  You may also choose to have a femtosecond laser do many of the steps currently performed by hand.  The procedure only takes about 15 – 20 minutes and is done on an outpatient basis.

You will have each procedure done around a couple weeks apart. Both eyes are not done at the same time to ensure one eye has time to recover and heal before proceeding to the next.

Are there different types of intraocular lenses?

Yes!  Deciding on the right IOL is an important part of the refractive lensectomy process. When choosing an IOL, it’s key to take your lifestyle and vision needs into account. Your IOL choices include the following:

Multifocal IOL:

Multifocal IOLs reduce the likelihood that you will be required to wear glasses or contacts after surgery.  Multifocal lenses incorporate both distance and near powered lenses into one lens.  They are considered a premium lens option.

Toric IOL:

Toric IOLs are the only IOL specifically designed for patients with astigmatism. Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens is an irregular shape. As a result, this causes blurred vision. Toric IOLs correct this refractive error.  You may also choose to have a multifocal toric IOL to give you more range of vision while correcting your astigmatism.

Monofocal IOL:

Monofocal IOLs only allow for fixed focus at one distance, either close up, intermediate, or far away. Monofocal IOLs are the standard IOL option, but the wearer must wear reading glasses to see other distances.  These IOLs are generally not recommended for anyone under the age of 40 who is not already used to wearing reading glasses for near and intermediate vision.

In the end, getting a refractive lens exchange surgery is between you and your doctor. It is an excellent option for those who want to correct their vision now and do not want to have cataracts later on.

Wondering if a refractive lens exchange could be right for you? Schedule an appointment at VisionPoint Eye Center in Bloomington or Champaign, IL!

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